Since news broke late last year of allegations of sexual harassment by Tosca Cafe co-owner and NYC restaurateur Ken Friedman, updates have been few and far between, with the exception of Friedman’s decision to “step away” from the businesses he ran with chef April Bloomfield. Now, some movement: Chef Josh Even and manager Dana Katzakian will both leave the restaurant, a decision that came after negotiations in attempt to purchase it did not come to fruition.
The news coincides with Sunday night’s 60 Minutes in which Bloomfield confirmed that she is “in the final stages of severing my partnership” with Friedman following sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by former employees of their restaurants, including NYC’s Spotted Pig and the Breslin.
Even says that he and Katzakian — both of whom have worked at the restaurant since 2013 — endeavored to purchase the business when allegations first surfaced. Months of negotiations resulted in no traction and the chef and manager have decided to move on. The two put in their notices several weeks ago.
Even has been an employee of Bloomfield and Friedman since 2006, when he worked as a line cook at the Spotted Pig, rising through the ranks and working at John Dory Oyster Bar and the Breslin before moving to SF to helm Tosca Cafe. The attempt to purchase the restaurant was also an attempt to save it “from the mess Ken created,” according to Even, who told the SF Chronicle that the ordeal became too much to deal with.
In both initial reports and the 60 Minutes segment, which focused on the allegations against both Friedman and disgraced chef Mario Batali, former employees of Bloomfield’s restaurants say that she turned a blind eye to Friedman’s behavior; the chef says she regrets not doing more to stop it. Much of the harassment took place at the Spotted Pig, where Batali was also an investor, including an incident in which former employees intervened to stop the chef from sexual misconduct against an unconscious woman.
Though Bloomfield is in the process of finalizing her business divorce from Friedman, the restaurateur has remained financially linked to the partners’ businesses. Likewise, Mario Batali — against whom new, even more disturbing accusations came to light during the 60 Minutes segment — is divesting from his business empire with Joe and Lidia Bastianich. He is also under investigations by the NYPD for sexual misconduct.
As of June 1, Even and Katzakian will have left the North Beach institution. And Bloomfield’s intentions for the restaurant remain unclear — Eater has reached out for more information on the fate of the restaurant as the chef works out her split with Friedman.